You want your child to eat nutritious foods, but do you know what nutrients he or she requires and in what amounts? Here’s a quick recap.
The same nutrition concepts apply to children as they do to adults. Everyone requires vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. On the other hand, the nutritional needs of children change with age.
So, what is the best way to encourage your child’s development and growth? Take a look at these healthy Malaysian baby foods for children of various ages, based on the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Consider the following nutrient-dense foods:
Seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds are all excellent sources of protein.
Eat a variety of fruits instead of fruit juice with your child, whether it’s from cans, frozen or dried. If your child drinks juice, make sure it’s 100% juice with no added sugars and limit how much he or she drinks. Look for canned fruit labelled “light” or “packed in its own juice,” which means it has little or no added sugar. Remember that a quarter cup of dried fruit equals one cup of fresh fruit. When consumed in excess, dried fruits can add extra calories.
Serve a wide selection of vegetables, whether they’re fresh, canned, frozen, or dried. Make sure to eat a variety of veggies each week, such as dark green, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas, starchy vegetables, and so on. When purchasing canned or frozen vegetables, look for low-sodium options.
Whole grains like whole-wheat bread, oats, popcorn, quinoa, and brown or wild rice are also good options. White bread, pasta, and rice are examples of refined grains that should be avoided.
Encourage your child to drink low-fat or fat-free dairy products like milk, yoghurt, cheese, and fortified soy beverages. Limit your child’s intake of calories from the following sources:
Sugar has been included. Sugar should be kept to a minimum in the diet. Sugars present naturally in foods like fruit and milk are not added sugars. Added sugars include brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, honey, and other sugars. Examine the nutrition labels. Select cereals that have the least amount of sugar added. Soda, sports and energy drinks, and other sugary drinks should be avoided.
Fats are classified into two types: saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats, which are mostly found in animal products like red meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy products, should be avoided. Look for ways to substitute essential fatty acids and vitamin E-rich vegetable and nut oils for saturated fats. Natural sources of healthy fats include olives, almonds, avocados, and shellfish. To reduce trans fats, avoid meals that contain partially hydrogenated oil.
As a general rule, most youngsters in the United States consume far too much sodium in their regular diets. Encourage people to eat fruits and vegetables instead of chips and cookies. On nutrition labels, look for sodium-free products.
Consult your child’s doctor or a certified nutritionist if you have any questions regarding children’s nutrition or specific concerns about your child’s meals.